Tuesday 16 December 2008

Free images to spice up your game

Whether you are writing your own free game or looking to spice up the game you're running, free images always come in handy. I'm forever moaning about free RPGs not having quite enough images in them, so here's the help you need. I was inspired to put this together by Zach's post on the The RPG Site. Many thanks to those that contributed there.

Before I get into the linkorama it's worth noting that you should be careful what licenses are attached to the different images. If you are producing something for sale, may I recommend you pop over and throw some fabric at a proper artist. Most places would like a link back, which is no real hardship for any free RPG, right?

Art sites


If you're looking for a great tool for shaping these images for your own use, I can heartily recommend GIMP, which has radically improved in recent years to punch as hard as Photoshop.

Of course, if you are aware of any free (public domain or Creative Commons) images that might be relevant for your RPG, please pop the link in a comment!


Ricardo said...

Hi Rob,

I would note that some of the clipart sites you link to don't make their copyright/license position clear and publishers should be leery of using them for their own works without clear indications from the copyright holders.

Open Clip Art is probably a good resource with clear copyright licensing. Check out it's sister site, the Open Font Library. Another option is the Wikimedia Commons which acts as the image repository for Wikipedia, as well as a general repository for free/open conent images.

-- Ricardo Gladwell

Samuel Van Der Wall said...

Definitely check out the stock.xchng too. It is a free photography website with tons of stock photography.

Jonathan Jacobs said...

THANK YOU!!! for the RPG Blog Anthology prject - resources like this are a major win! These coupled with the help of a group of artists who have volunteered should be enough.

thanks again!

Joshua Macy said...

I have to say that the Open Clip Art Library has perhaps the worst user interface for graphics files I have ever come across. There's no thumbnail until you click on the file name, you have to find the files by name or tag, and the search function only seems to look at file names, not tags.

Stan said...

Another solid entry, the comments are helpful too. I'm thinking about taking my notes on some things and turning them into free stuff - free art is the only way I could go.

I also like to use pics in play. Instead of describing something and players trying to guess the key parts on how I say it, I like to show them a picture and let them decide what it means.

Hanley Tucks said...

Also useful is wikimedia commons, with a lot of free images.

Generally they're free to use, with attribution, for any free product.

Rob Lang said...

Sorry for the late reply, everyone! Many thanks for the comments.

@Ricardo. I did have a good root around but you're right that some of them are not clear. They run under a variety of different licenses - including the elusive public domain. I'm glad you read the blog with your ever vigilant eye!

@Samuel. Many thanks, I did check out stock.xchng and there are a load of great images there. It's worth noting that the Legalese might prohibit people selling games using this method. Free PDF downloads should be no problem!

@jamused: Yes, it is bloody ugly and not user friendly. A shame, because the quality of the pics is very good.

@Jonathan: No problem, sir. Always like to tip my hat to the Core Mechanic/Blogger Anthology creator. I do hope these images might help spruce up the book.

@Stan. Thanks! And I agree that using pics in play can really help.

@Kiashu, another super resource I'd completely forgotten about. Many thanks!